That age old question asked to kids by adults has always been a daunting one to me, "what would you like to be when you grow up?". You see, while many kids always had ambitions of being doctors, teachers, fireman, police man etc, I always only wanted to be one thing, a car designer. That dream followed me for most of my schooling career where I'd sketch cars on the back of my and others books, when things started to get a bit serious in terms of where my career was going, I had to make a choice and followed the engineering route because car design wasn't offered in the country and the prospect of studying overseas wasn't feasible. It was nice to learn over the years of a certain Professor Gordon Murray though, it was his story that still sparks that ambition in me, I entered many online design contests with this in mind, while not having the best tools for the business it was nice to see what I could achieve. Knowing that a South African, let alone a Durban boy was responsible for designing one of the most iconic supercars of all time gave me hope that there is a possibility that anything is possible with dedication and hard work.
Gordon, having completed his studies at then Natal Techinkon made his way over to the U.K, he worked for Brabham designing Formula One cars for the team, he was then made chief designer by Brabham boss Bernie Ecclestone and went on to design championship winning cars with them and thereafter Mclaren. It's then he moved onto the project that would change the way the world saw a supercar, the Mclaren F1. It was and still to this day remains one of the finest piece of engineering the world has seen. A 3 seater sportscar which has the driver in the central position with passengers either side, naturally aspirated BMW sourced V12 with gold foil exhausts that serve as a heat shield. Apart from being the fastest production road going supercar and shattering all sorts of records, it gave probably the best interaction for a driver and this what made the car supremely popular and a must have for any enthusiast. There were many variations of the F1, with GTR and LM models produced but that F1 still remained the holy grail which had the best of everything. Gordon then went on to assist the Mclaren team in designing the Mercedes SLR, another stunner of a car which remains a timeless beauty.
Last night Gordon Murray Automotive launched what is the true successor to the Mclaren F1, the GMA T.50. During a live stream event, the 73 year old South African gave insight into his vision of the car and what spurred him on to create it. He always was an advocate of less weight and said today the enjoyment of driving has been lost as so many supercars only come 'alive' at the upper-ends of their performance capabilities. With the modern day take on engine builds, using smaller units with the aid of turbos and other funny electronics, it almost takes the heart and soul out of the car. It also adds unnecessary weight with batteries and power units while the T.50 offers just pure combustion power. It has a V12 Cosworth powertrain which delivers 514kW (690bhp), it has a 6 speed conventional gearbox and three pedals. To the purist it is an ode to the analog supercar and probably the last of which we would see. The Cosworth V12 is high revving offering the driver performance form the moment they put their foot down. The car weights a mere 980kg, it's aerodynamics has it cutting through the air with minimal drag but ensures the car stays grounded. The weight reduction this car has undergone is tremendous, even the windscreen is 28% thinner to decrease weight. It's engineering at it finest and with only 100 units being made with a price tag of £2.36 million before taxes, its sure to be sold out pretty quickly.